It’s when you doubt your accomplishments and you have a fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. You don’t think you’ve earned, or deserve, the accolades, titles, and respect that you have. You may be afraid that how you got to where you are isn’t “good enough” by someone else’s standards.
Imposter syndrome shows up for me sometimes when I think of myself as a leader. I have proof all around that I’m a leader, and a good one at that, I still questions myself. I doubt my leadership “chops” if you will. Have I paid my dues? Have I earned my role? Am I worthy of leading those in my charge? These are all questions I ask myself.
Confidence is Required
To be an effective leader, one people will follow, you must display confidence as a leader. To be clear, confidence does not mean arrogance. Confident people can admit when they are wrong or when they are not sure about something; arrogant people pretend they know everything and are always right.
If imposter syndrome lingers and isn’t dealt with, it steals your confidence and can negatively impact how you lead. To overcome imposter syndrome as a business owner and leader, I do a few things that help a great deal.
How To Overcome Imposter Syndrome
Here are five steps I take to help me overcome imposter syndrome when it creeps up on me.
Look at the evidence. I review my bad-ass file to remind myself that yes, I’m a good leader.
Review how I’ve grown. I also review how I’ve grown as a leader. I often reflect on decisions I’ve made in the past and how much better I would be at making that decision in the present.
Identify one thing to work on. I’m also humble enough to know that I can always improve as a business owner and leader. I’m usually working on one thing to improve my leadership skills.
Talk with other leaders. This helps you realize you’re not alone.
Affirmations – I am a good leader. I am a good leader. I am a good leader.
Not Just At Work
Let’s be real – as business owners, it is a challenge to separate our work life from our personal life. Imposter syndrome doesn’t just strike business owners and leaders. It can show up in many places – as parents, as partners, in volunteer organizations, etc. It’s important to understand that imposter syndrome in one part of your life can impact the other parts of your life. That’s why I think it’s important for business owners to discuss it.
Being a Leader of Leaders
Imposter syndrome strikes most of us in various parts of our lives – being a friend, a spouse, a parent. It also impacts leaders. Name it, be aware of it, and then work through some of the steps mentioned. Not only will learning to deal with imposter syndrome make you a stronger leader.